Sri Amaralingeswara Swami Temple is one of the Pancharama Kshetras which is located at Amaravati town (historically called as Amararama) near Guntur City in Andhra Pradesh.
Lord Siva is known as Amareswara Swamy or Amaralingeswara Swamy here. The temple is situated on the southern bank of Krishna River. The consort of Lord Amareswara Swamy is Bala Chamundika. Legend has it that the Sivalingam at this place was installed (pratistapana) by Indra the king of Devas, Brihaspati the guru of the Devas and Sukra the preceptor of the Asuras. The other four being Kumararama, Ksheerarama, Bheemarama and Draksharama. Siva here is referred to as Amareswara, Agesteswara, Kosaleswara, Pranaveswara and Someswara.
Temple Famous for:
It is said that the Linga was continuously growing in size and a nail was hammered in at top to stop its growth.
This Amaravati temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and homes a 15 feet high white marble Shiva symbol. On the four sides of the Amaravati temple are large gopurams in a usually Dravidian architectural style. As per the Hindu mythology, Amareswara, Amaravati temple is devoted to Lord Shiva, the ‘destroyer of the Universe’. The Amareswara Swamy temple is found on little hammock named as Krouncha Shaila in Amaravati, concerning fifteen miles, faraway from Guntur, nearest to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.
Skanda Purana tells the story of the temple. The sthalapurana for the temple, is an interesting story. At the end of Dwaparayuga 5053 years ago, Maharishi Narada was asked by the Sounakadi rishis as to the best means to obtain liberation. Narada told them that as Lord Krishna had created the river Krishna, so had he advised the rishis to live near the river and bathe in its holy water to attain salvation.
If a devotee remains in this area for more than three days and worships Lord Amareswara with devotion, after a dip in the holy river, he will attain salvation.
If a devotee dies here, he will be absorbed into Lord Shiva. There are many more legends from the Kshetra mahatmyam and the Kshetramurthy Mahatmyam.
Once there was a town called Dhanyakatakam or Varanasi. The legend says that, the demons defeated the gods after being awarded a boon by Lord Shiva. Shiva vowed to kill the demons and hence the gods came to reside here and since then the place came to be called Amaravati. Lord Amareswara is worshipped here with his consort Bala Chamundika who is considered as the fourth of the 18 goddesses. There are other minor deities in the temple.
This ancient temple is dedicated to Shiva and enshrines a 15 feet high white marble Linga, surrounded by massive walls with towers. The temple stands close to the Krishna river. The origin is shrouded in mystery, though there are many legends in the puranas(epics). The temple is surrounded on all four sides by towering gopurams in Dravidian style. The vimana is also in the same style.
Legend says that the temple was originally Buddhist and was adapted for Hindu worship. Hence the foundations are laid in Buddhist style. The mula virat in the sanctum has a white marble lotus medallion, made in ornate style of the early Buddhist sculptors. The mula virat is a vertical cylinder made of white marble as found in Buddhist monuments.
The Linga is 15 feet tall, another legend states that this was originally the Ayaka Stambha or an Ayaka pillar, and which was later consecrated as a symbol of the Shivalinga. The temple is a perfect example of the Dravidian style. The gopuras came into prominence, only during medieval times and no stone epigraph is found before the 11th century suggesting its late origin. There is a wealth of inscription on its walls by Kota chiefs of Amaravati, and one by Krishandevaraya on the erection of a mantapam here. On a pillar in the Mukhamantapa, the wife of Proli Nayudu, dependent of Koppara Kesanivarma, has left an inscription.
Maha Shivaratri of ‘Magha Bahula Dasami’ is that the major festival celebrated here. The divine aura of the shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.
Birthplace of Buddhism
The Amravati stupa, which is also known as Mahachaitya Stupa, has the privilege of being the largest stupa(95 feet high) in India – the birthplace of Buddhism. Built during the 2nd century BCE, the stupa was discovered by a British archaeologist, Colonel Colin Mackenzie in 1797. The stupa was earlier a simple structure with limestone crossbars and simple carvings, but when renovated by the Satavahana rulers, became a highly marked architectural monument.
The world famous ‘Kohinoor‘ diamond came from ‘Kollur Mines’, kollur Village is now part of the Amaravati, AP Capital Region.